Field Testing – Cityscapes Part 1

The Field Testing series will focus on testing out and showcasing new hobby products, with a big focus on painting and hobby in general. The aim is to show just how these products work in a real world environment, using very simple techniques and an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ style of testing. They’re experiments first and foremost, aimed at showing the capabilities of a product, not step by step guides on the best way to use them. Questions are always welcome, so if you’re curious about anything don’t hesitate to ask!


It’s time once again for a Field Test. Today we’ll be continuing our look at some of the Dioramas range from AK Interactive. This week we’ll be looking at the Concrete Texture to see how we might use it to enhance a Tablescapes tile from Secret Weapon Miniatures.

Using one of the Damaged Urban Streets tiles my goal was to add some more fine details to the existing board as well as test out how well these products reacted to a few basic Oil washing techniques. We’ll get to the oils a bit later – for now let’s focus on the textures themselves.

I prepared the tile in a similar fashion to the previous snow tiles from last month, using the same primer and colours to create a simple basecoat to work with. This particular tile features a large crater in the middle which was painted and highlighted with browns, while a few of the cracks were given a darker grey colour to just give a little more contrast. I didn’t paint over the primer and used the light grey as the base for the majority of the board.

As we’ll be using oil paints later, it’s important to ensure your base colours are a little bit lighter than you’re intended result as this will make the whole process a lot easier later on. The best way to think about it is to imagine the final colour you’re after and go about 1 – 2 shades lighter. Things often end up looking a little cartoony to begin with – but it all works out in the end.

With the prep work done, I decided to start with the Concrete texture. This stuff is quite versatile and comes out as a thick off-white paste. Unlike the Snow texture we saw previously this stuff is very gritty. I’m confident that if used straight out of the pot this particular product would provide amble coverage over any surface. My initial aim with this was to see if I could give this board a little bit more fine texture over the flat areas. I also wanted to see if I could use it to fill up the cracks emanating from the crater itself as I felt they were too exaggerated, particularly as I planned to display some 10mm Dropzone Commander miniatures on this board.

To achieve this I grabbed a large flat brush and scooped up a decent amount of product straight out of the pot. I then dipped this into a jar of ordinary tap water and began applying it to the board in long vertical strokes. The product applied very easily and I didn’t find it was clumping up on either the brush or the board. To eliminate brush strokes and push the texture inside the cracks a little more I used wet paper towel and dabbed over the surface. I only painted over the flat areas here and while the drying time was fairly fast, there was enough time to rework areas where I applied too much or too little product. After stopping, it was touch dry in about an hour.

cityscapes_pt01-11
Initial layer after drying.

Next up, I wanted to use the product to build up harsher details around the edges of the crater. Using roughly the same amount of product, but with much less water, I stippled around the edges using a large brush. Initially I didn’t want to thin the product for this part, but I found it was so heavy that it obscured quite a lot of the original detail. I still wanted to see those results however, so areas which were almost entirely flat received a dab of the product without thinning at all. It’s pretty easy to differentiate these areas in the photo. You might notice I added a tiny amount to some of the larger rocks inside the crater as well.

cityscapes_pt01-12
Enhancing the edges

Overall, pretty happy with this product. It’s ridiculously easy to apply and washes out of the brush without the use of special cleaners. It proved to be quite scalable and I can see heaps of different applications for it. The detail photos below show off just how fine this stuff can get with a minimal amount of effort, I can definitely see myself using this for basing texture on miniatures of all different scales. Gamers will probably find this stuff really useful for adding a bit more third dimension to the side of MDF terrain pieces, applying a diluted layer over those flat parts will give washes more texture to grab hold of. This is equally applicable for acrylic and oil based washes.

cityscapes_pt01-13
Final result (note: not fully dry here)

Happy with the result, I used a few different acrylic paints to add some variety on the rocks around and inside the crater itself. You’ll recognise these colours from our earlier work with the snow tile, but I decided to add some metallic in here as well. I dry brushed this on after all the other colours to avoid everything looking too ‘natural’ – it is a destroyed city after all.

While working on this tile, I was also doing some work on another 2 tiles simultaneously in a similar style which you can see a bit of below. The only real difference being that I didn’t use the Concrete on these boards as I felt I covered that well enough with the one we’ve just looked at. The only real difference was the addition of black paint for the road, which was covered with Asphalt Texture.

I won’t say much about the Asphalt here as it’s quite similar to the Concrete, it’s just finer and has a darker colour. What makes Asphalt special is it’s ability to be laid extremely flat by using a sculpting tool. I jumped in a bit too fast and didn’t really take advantage of the unique properties it offers. As such, I don’t feel I’ve adequately tested it so I won’t do a full commentary on it. I’ll mention that I have found it very useful for basing however, and we’ll cover a few basic points about it later on once we get to some of the oil paints and weathering. Check out this video from AK Interactive if you’d like to see someone use it to it’s full potential.

That’s all for this week. Next week we’ll be looking at the Stirred Earth Texture and using it to enhance the inside of our crater, along with some of the details on the other city tiles I’ve prepared.

As always, thanks for reading and please feel free to ask any questions or leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

          Mike

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